Calontir Seneschals Guide
By Katriana with help from Alina
Checking the Treasurers Reports
As a seneschal you are not expected to re-add the reports, double check all the numbers, or verify that things are in the correct category. That's what regional treasurers are for :-) But regional treasurers don't know your group, except through those reports, so they have no way of knowing that there should be event/demo/heraldic income or that the group has a free meeting place and is not spending $200 a month on Occupancy.
There is nothing mystical or mysterious about the treasurer's report and since you, along with the treasurer, can be held legally responsible for the group's money, it behooves you to look over the report before you sign it. To sign without checking is to circumvent one of the basic controls over SCA funds. By the way, the same thing is true for being one of the signatories of the account. By signing a check you are personally verifying that the money is being spent on something appropriate, so check receipts and know why you are signing anything!
Sometimes the treasurer and the seneschal live several miles apart and may only get together at meetings. Even though it may take several minutes to go over the reports (which cuts into meeting time), do not allow yourself to be rushed into signing any report you don't understand. If the treasurer really needs to file his or her report, here are some options:
Option #1 Tell the treasurer that you will take the reports home with you (both the treasurer's copy and the copy for the regional deputy) and you will sign and mail both reports when you have had a chance to look over the figures. (You must then actually check and mail the report.)
Option #2 Tell the treasurer to mail in his or her report without your signature and that you will sign the first two pages and mail copies of those pages to the regional after you have reviewed the report.
Option #3 Check with the regional deputy for your group, it may be acceptable to the regional/kingdom exchequer for you to email your acceptance of the report.
A preliminary list of things to check follows. Please use common sense, every group has different things that go on and no short general guide can cover everything. For a long detailed guide, see the Exchequers Handbook :-) Common sense also means to be willing to question things that seem odd, and be willing to keep questioning.
- Are the bank statements present (either copies or the originals) and reconciled?
The regional treasurer won't accept the report without the bank statements, and neither should you. The final balance on the last statement of the quarter should (after reconciliation with the checkbook) match Line 1 and/or 2 of the Comparative Balance Sheet.
- Is the report balanced?
At the bottom of the Comparative Balance Sheet are two numbers, Change in Net Worth and Net Income. These numbers must match (difference of -0-)
- Does the activity on the Income Statement match your group's activity?
If your group had an event/demo in the quarter, is the income on the report? Are there a lot of expenses when your group was fairly quiet?
- Do the transactions on the bank statements match the reports?
- If there is income on the report, are there deposits on the statements?
- Are the checks written for appropriate amounts? It is unusual for many checks for supplies or food to be even dollar amounts. Several checks to Wal-Mart for even dollar amounts should raise warning flags. Receipts should be checked (and whoever countersigned the check should be checking them also.)
- Is there cash on hand?
On the Cash Reconciliation Worksheet, the line at the very bottom is for "Cash on Hand". The only times I can think of this should be used in Calontir are:
Unacceptable reasons for cash on hand:
- Event was held right at the end of the quarter (like it starts in one quarter and ends in the next) and money is not yet deposited.
- Treasurer received notice at the end of the quarter that another officer, authorized to accept money for the group (herald, seneschal, chronicler, it varies from group to group) has cash.
- Petty Cash fund.
Having an ongoing petty cash fund is strongly discouraged by the SCA and is banned by several Kingdoms. A moment's thought will reveal the reason. If someone in your group is convinced that there must be a petty cash fund, then let them fund the thing and the SCA will reimburse the (non-SCA) fund upon presentation of valid, properly presented and approved receipts.
- Cash from activity undeposited because it just hasn't gotten done.
Deposits need to be made as soon as possible. If there are difficulties, the treasurer can have a deputy just to deposit money, or the seneschal or any other officer could take the money to the bank, but it must be deposited as soon as possible after we receive it.
ALL CASH SHOULD BE DEPOSITED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
It is an unacceptable liability to have SCA money outside a bank for extended periods.
- Check the Property Worksheets for accuracy.
Look over the property lists, both depreciable and non-depreciable (regalia) to see if they are up to date. The treasurer may not have heard about the accidental destruction of the coronets/computer/Beverly shears.
- Check the Comparative Balance Worksheet
Receivables are money that is owed to your group. The most common entry here is for bad checks. The person who wrote the bad check owes your group both the amount of the check PLUS any bank fees the group incurred.
Bad Check steps:
- As soon as notice is received from your bank, a letter or phone call should be made to let the person know where to send the money and what the total due is with bank fees. Most SCA bad checks are solved at this point. VERIFY THAT THIS WAS DONE! If the treasurer is hesitant about contacting the person, you can do it for them, the important thing for the group to attempt to collect the check. Be sure to keep records of all contact or attempts at contact.
- If a bad check has been on the report for more than one quarter (it's in the start column and the end column), then verify that more than one attempt was made to collect (at least one in writing.) If not, and the check is less than 6 months old, then ask for a letter to be sent immediately and to receive a copy of the letter (or offer to send it.) If multiple contacts have been attempted/made, recommend that copies of the whole thing (check, bank statement showing charge, any letters, notes about phone calls) be sent to the Kingdom Exchequer. Sometimes a letter from "on high" can work wonders.
Calontir Law states: "XIX-300 No person owing an amount of money more than $50.00 to the Society or any of its branches for 60 days after official request for payment from the Kingdom Treasurer has been received shall compete or be fought for in any Crown or Coronet Tournament, nor shall such an individual hold any office on any level." So you can see that it is important for the Kingdom Treasurer to track bad checks. The check should not be written off as a bad debt until the Kingdom Treasurer so instructs your group.